Most individuals with bipolar disorder develop symptoms during their late teens or early adulthood. Individuals with the disorder cycle through wild mood swings. Manic behavior includes periods of exaggerated happiness, fits of intense industry, gregariousness, reckless spending. Depressive episodes include intense sadness, fugue states—wherein an individual does not recollect actions during a disturbed conscious state, excessive sleeping, lashing out and general irritability. Bipolar is unrelated to the normal emotional ups and downs most people experience. It is a serious illness with no cure. But it can be managed with medication and therapy.
Teens experiencing a manic episode display some or all of the following behaviors:
- Short tempered
- Accelerated speech
- Difficulty sleeping
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Inappropriate behavior
- Engage in risky—often sexual—behavior
Teens experiencing a depressive episode display some or all of the following behaviors:
- Complain of physical ailments—headaches, stomachaches and more
- Sleep excessively or hardly at all
- Eat excessively or hardly at all
- Loss of interest in activities
- No energy
- Preoccupied with thoughts of death or suicide
Individuals with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for developing a drinking or substance abuse problem. Other co-occurring conditions may include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—ADHD and anxiety disorders, particularly separation anxiety.
Bipolar is treatable. Therapists must find the right balance of medications in order to treat both manic and depressive episodes. Medication in combination with psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for teens with bipolar disorder.
White River Academy
White River Academy, or WRA, is a boarding school unlike any other. It is located near the rim of the majestic Great Basin in Utah. Our treatment regimen relies heavily on the natural beauty of our surroundings. WRA students receive ongoing individual and group therapy as well as class work, which is superior to the standard public school system curriculum.
We integrate the outdoors into the day-to-day treatment of our students. Hiking, horsemanship, servant-leadership within the community and exploring—these are as therapeutic as medication and the counseling we also offer. For more information about our hybrid approach to bipolar and other mood disorders, call 866-520-0905.